Maybe it was The First Baby Shower Ever …
At this time of year, when we have just passed the solar nadir that is the winter solstice and our days will gradually be stretching out again, many people across the globe are preparing to celebrate the ultimate coming of light into the world, through the story of the nativity and the birth of the Saviour on Christmas Day.
Whatever your beliefs it is a pleasure to embrace the symbolism of new life that is just around the corner.
Just imagine the darkness as Mary and Joseph toiled through inhospitable land to be turned away when they sought a place to stay. Their purpose was single minded; not for them the distractions of electronics, shopping, internet and social media: they were travelling to Bethlehem to return to Joseph’s birthplace and to await the birth of their son.
We can only imagine the panic that must have set in when Mary was in the throes of labour and there was no comfortable place for the couple to rest. The contrast is immense between the arrival of Jesus in a lowly stable and the greatness that was to follow; something that makes the whole story unique.
The light, soul and spirit of the nativity as it is told every Christmas conspire together to bring us joy and optimism in the renewal and continuation of life.
And then … following the bright star of light that signalled this amazing event … three wise men turned up bringing their significant gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Quite some baby shower in recognition of the arrival of the baby who would become so important to the world! Mary did indeed pass from darkness into light with the arrival of her son.
I have learned things in the dark that I could never have learned in the light, things that have saved my life over and over again, so that there is really only one logical conclusion. I need darkness as much as I need light. Learning to Walk in the Dark: Barbara Brown Taylor
I confess. I have not yet read the book. It is on my reading list. But I recently heard it being reviewed on the radio and the premise of actually needing darkness intrigued me immediately. Only by living through the extremes of darkness and light can we assimilate and respond to the whole spectrum of meaning in our lives.
A wound is followed by a blessing.
We bleed but we heal over.
We are crushed and we are downtrodden, but we are not beaten.
Moving from the impenetrable darkness of early grief into the light of living in new normality is a pivotal part of my grieving process for the loss of my own son James, with which I have lived for the past ten years.
Life contains gifts that we never anticipate, and it is on these that I plan to focus at Christmas rather than the loss of those with whom I would ideally be sharing the celebrations.
The turn of the year’s circle brings us round to Christmas again. It is our eleventh festive season without James and here we are, still standing, still living, still counting blessings for the life we now have. Our children and in turn their children provide the continuum for the future and bring us much joy.
Thank you to everyone who has read my words this year; they reflect my own opinions and musings. Thank you too for all the wonderful support and encouragement I continue to receive.
I wish you a blessedly peaceful time over the festivities.